Chevrolet introduced its first plug-in hybrid vehicle in 2007 with the Volt as a concept car. In 2011, the Volt became the first mass-produced electric car fitted with a backup gasoline engine sold by a major automaker. Fans eagerly anticipate the release of the second generation Volt in all 50 states come late 2016, with models already available in certain states.
Competition from other auto manufacturers such as Tesla and Toyota, popularity, and concerns for the environment encouraged Chevy to design a new, all-electric crossover to start production in the fall of 2016—currently named the Chevrolet Bolt.
With both models available to all Americans soon, what makes the Chevrolet Bolt different from the Volt, and what do they have in common?
Volt or Bolt: 4 Ways to Compare or Contrast Electric Cars
Electric Car Ranges
The Chevy Volt can go up to 40 miles without any emissions or gasoline using its rechargeable lithium ion battery. And after 40 miles, the engine kicks in and recharges the battery while still driving and lets the journey continue for another 300 miles.
The Chevy Bolt, however, will be designed to go more than 200 miles on electric power alone. It will only take 30 minutes to replenish 90 miles of range when using a DC-range fast charge source, 2 hours for a 240-watt AC power source to replenish a 50-mile range, and 9 hours total to recharge the entire battery.
Weight and Materials
Both the Volt and the Bolt’s construction utilize materials lighter than regular vehicles. The use of aluminum, magnesium, carbon fiber, and high-strength steel keep weight down to increase efficiency and range. The Volt has a curb weight of 3,794 lbs., while the Bolt weighs in at 3,580 lbs.
Despite both being electric vehicles, the battery chemistry differs in the Volt and Bolt. A more nickel-rich lithium-ion battery designed specifically for electric car use in the Bolt is different from the more mainstream battery needs found in the Volt. The Bolt’s battery cells can run at higher temperatures, resulting in a cheaper and less cumbersome cooling system.
Both the Chevrolet Volt and Bolt have already set the standard for affordable electric vehicles. With both vehicles in the mid $30,000 range and tax credits of up to $7,500, Chevrolet will enjoy its status of offering attainable electric cars and could encourage more consumers to give an electric vehicle a serious look.
General Motors Willing to Help Other Automakers Rock Down Electric Avenue
General Motors could have chosen to keep its Voltec propulsion powertrain system under wraps, but they’re willing to sell the system to other carmakers under the right circumstances. To meet the demands of the California ZEV rule, which states 15 percent of new vehicle sales in 2025 be zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), more manufacturers will need to work together to offer a wider variety in the nation’s electric vehicle inventory. By offering either full powertrains or just the drive unit, Chevrolet proves they’re willing to help other companies maximize the inevitable rise of electric vehicles.
If you are interested in a 2016 Chevrolet Volt or have questions about electric vehicles, come by our dealership in Cary, North Carolina, to chat with us. We also carry a wide range certified pre-owned electric cars.